Week 3 (Oct. 17th - 21st)MondayHell Night
The barrage of teen scream flicks in the 80s were a real mixed bag in my opinion. Well I canít fault them for having fun, not many of them were what Iíd call well-made. While Friday the 13th
, My Bloody Valentine
, and Sleepaway Camp
have their own certain
charm, Iíd much prefer Hell Night
, a silly shriekfest about four freshmen college students locked in a haunted castle for the night. Linda finds out she's contractually obligated to make The Exorcist II
What makes Hell Night
stand out from the rest is that itís filled with truly likeable characters. While Linda Blair (honestly, these movies donít really have characters so whatís the point of remembering their names) plays a run-of-the-mill Survivor Girl, she has a warmth and intelligence about her, much like Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween
. Her love interest, Generic Brunette Dude, shows an unnatural bravado, choosing to turn back into the castle to search for a kidnapped girl when he has the chance to escape, even though he hardly knows her. Also, the Standard Sex-Crazed Jock characters has an entertaining b-story where he manages to escape the castle, only to search down a gun and return to blow away the badguys. Word has it the director was a little nuts.
Itís these little touches, along with a great nod to the ďCAR WONíT START!!!Ē horror movie cliche, that make this flick fun and engaging, even though it never generates any real scares. TuesdayFrom Beyond
This is Stuart Gordonís follow-up to the surprisingly great Re-Animator
, and while it boasts the same lead actor and is also based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, itís just a pale shadow of that movieís brilliant vibe. Oh god, I thought I got cream-filled.
Also, the weird sexual stuff plays out like a lame Hellraiser
rip-off, even though it came out a full year before.You never forget your first time.
While it does feature some awesome floating inter-dimensional eels and the best use of goopy body-morphing special effects since The Thing
, ultimately itís a lame attempt at dark humor with no thrills, chills, or genuine heart. Itís not awful, itís just lackluster and ultimately forgettable, a true horror considering the potential. WednesdayTake Shelter
If this movie is currently playing at your local art house theater:GO SEE IT AND PAY THEM EXTRA MONEY AS A THANK YOU
While this is really a pure suspense film rather than a straight horror film, a few scenes borrow heavily (and effectively) from certain horror tropes. Itís a simple Noahís Ark tale where Curtis (Michael Shannon) begins building a storm shelter in his backyard because heís plagued by brutal, realistic nightmares about a violent storm which causes his loved ones to attack him. Sinking the family into debt, he battles with the fact that he might be suffering from the same schizophrenia that institutionalized his mother. Cross my heart and hope to kill you with an axe.
While the whole ďis it real or not?Ē formula is ultimately a crutch, writer/director Jeff Nichols has the guts to answer the question properly (Iím looking at you, Chris Nolan), thereby respecting the genre elements without undermining the rich family drama which is the real driving force of this film. The performances, special effects, art direction, music, and cinematography are at once subtle, beautiful, and absolutely perfect. This is a real blue-collar world, not a pathetic Hollywood replica, creating such a grounded sense of reality that the terrifying dream sequences seem that much more horrifying. Has anyone seen my Oscar lying around down here?
This is one to watch in theaters and own on Blu-Ray, see it as soon as you can. ThursdayThe Babyís Room
Baby monitors are the most terrifying man-made device besides nuclear bombs and I.U.D.s.Itís just up there ... waiting.
And while they may be an overused horror cliche, thereís something terrifying about spying on a sleeping child, about what might happen while your kid is alone.Goo goo ga ga ... over.
While The Babyís Room
isnít a great film (or even a good film), it boasts two utterly terrifying moments and a fantastic second-act twist. Unfortunately, the clever premise cannot overcome the bad acting, annoying characters, and painful dialog, but itís worth a watch late at night if the smell of your own urine helps you sleep.I may or may not have peed myself just re-posting this photo.FridayThe Creature from the Black Lagoon
Despite the delightful misogyny and ultra-low budget, The Creature from the Black Lagoon
holds up surprisingly well for a movie that's over 50 years old. I heard swing dancing was super popular back then.
The creature design is ground-breaking and a few parts, mostly the underwater scenes, are very suspenseful. Also the creature is wonderfully sympathetic (far more than the main characters) and itís fun to see the Universal backlot substitute for the Amazon River. John, get your ass in the car and come check out what I found in my cave!End of Week Three - Psychological State:
Work called my house to see if I was sick ... couldn't tell them I was too scared to leave the house. Sleeping on the couch now with the light on all night. Eating only canned foods in case the wife is trying to poison me. Overall, I'm doing well ... but the house keeps whispering that it's trying to kill me. Things are tough, but I'm determined to make it through to the end.